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by Jeffrey Archer

Pub Date: June 15th, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-019150-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

“This was the real world,” CIA assassin Connor Fitzgerald reminds himself as he escapes from his latest messy job without a single “Rambo-type helicopter” for help. Fortunately, he couldn’t be more wrong: He’s got both feet firmly planted in Archerland Deluxe. After getting out of Colombia just in time for what would be the opening credits if this were a James Bond movie, beloved hit-man Connor, a decorated Vietnam vet and devoted family man who’s only a wink and a smile from reassignment to a cushy desk job, gets the bad news: His hard-nosed boss, CIA director Helen Dexter, gives him a choice between heading the agency office in Cleveland (Cleveland!) and taking early retirement. Seems that Connor knows secrets that would help the exasperated President bury Dexter deep, and Dexter, rabidly opposed to a CIA-gutting arms reduction bill the Chief Executive’s negotiating (and, at any rate, not one to go gently into that good night), has arranged a spectacular bit of treachery to make sure Connor never gets a chance to spill the beans. He’s sent packing off to Moscow for one last job—to eliminate Victor Zerimski, the warmongering Communist candidate for the Russian presidency. It’s just like Connor’s other jobs, except for two differences: It hasn’t been authorized by the White House (despite a tricky bit of techno-wizardry that fools Connor into thinking it has), and it’s not supposed to be successful. Instead, Dexter’s minions will tip the Russians off just in time to send Connor on a one-way ticket to St. Petersburg’s fearsome Crucifix prison. Once Connor’s locked away, the verdict and sentence are a foregone conclusion, and no one’s escaped from Crucifix since best-selling Archer (Twelve Red Herrings, 1994, etc.) was a gleam in his ancestors’ eyes. There’s much, much more—roping in the Russian Mafiya, the Washington Redskins, a dozen double-crosses, and two returns from the grave—all of it the most rousing moonshine. ($250,000 ad/promo; author tour; radio/TV satellite tour)